High school students invited to take part in poetry contest

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are presenting the 10th annual Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, in partnership with the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council announced in a press release Aug. 28.

Poetry Out Loud is a program encouraging high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. During the 2014-2015 school year, Poetry Out Loud celebrates its 10th anniversary by reaching out to students in more than 7,300 schools across the nation.

During the fall and winter, Alaska schools are invited to participate in classroom and school-wide contests with winners advancing to a state competition in Juneau on March 10. State champions advance to national finals in Washington, D.C., April 28-29.

Maeva Odaz of West Anchorage High School was selected the 2014 Alaska Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the state in the 2014 National Finals in May. During 2013-2014, more than 3,500 students from 42 high schools in Alaska participated in the Poetry Out Loud program. 

The program offers educational materials and a recitation competition designed to give students an opportunity to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

“Ten years ago, we launched the first national Poetry Out Loud competition, and since then nearly 2.5 million high school students have discovered the art of poetry recitation,” said Chairman Jane Chu. 

For high school teachers interested in participating, the program takes one-three weeks and is often incorporated into existing poetry units. High schools must register online at http://jahc.org/arts-education/poetry-out-loud/ to participate. The Alaska State Council on the Arts will determine which schools are eligible to take part in the official Poetry Out Loud program. 

Each state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state champion’s school also received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state received $100 with $200 for his or her school library. The national champion received a $20,000 award. 

The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and Alaska State Council on the Arts will host informational teleconferences with teachers, administrators and parents wanting to know more about the program on Sept. 23 and Sept. 30. 

For more information, contact Kari Groven, the Poetry Out Loud coordinator, at pol@jahc.org or visit poetryoutloud.org.